On Wednesday, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board (AMCO) unanimously voted to revoke Quincy Iyatunguk’s marijuana handler’s permit after he was arrested for allegedly trying to transport heroin to Nome last month.
Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team (WAANT) Sergeant Kevin Blanchette confirmed that Iyatunguk had been in the middle of a legal marijuana transport when authorities arrested him in the Ted Stevens airport with 8.8 grams of heroin in late October. Iyatunguk worked as the retail manager of the Gudlief store in Nome and was bringing marijuana from Anchorage for the Nome store.
A memo from former AMCO director Erika McConnell to AMCO states that the manifest on Iyatunguk’s shipment had an error on it, but WAANT Sergeant Kevin Blanchette says that is not why authorities contacted Iyatunguk in the airport. He says Iyatunguk was already under investigation for suspected illegal narcotics trafficking. Right now, troopers see no relation between the incidents. The case is still open for investigation and AST denied KNOM’s request for the arrest report.
Gudlief Owner Robin Thomas says he terminated Iyatunguk’s employment immediately after his arrest. Thomas said he was sad to see him go and that Iyatunguk had been a good employee.
He says the incident should serve as a reminder to any potential handlers or employees for the marijuana industry that they must be “on the straight and narrow path”.
The marijuana shipment was returned to the original Anchorage store and Iyatunguk is currently being held in Anchorage on a $5,000 bail.
Image at top: Western Alaska’s Alcohol and Narcotics Team (WAANT) is partnering with rural hub communities to stem the flow of heroin in Western Alaska. Photo: Amanda Graham, Flickr Creative Commons